Blue Media Swap

I must start by crediting Jason @ Absolute Audio (Absolut5@VWT4Forum) for: providing all the bits I needed; offering to provide bits I otherwise sourced; and his endless supportive advice – Thanks!

So yesterday I went about replacing the standard VW stereo with a Kenwood BT73DAB radio that could connect with my iPhone/iPad. If you want to replace the standard stereo you will also need to get a new facia panel and rather than spend hours searching for the correct part no. and then risk getting the wrong one I elected to purchase a kit via Absolute Audio (Absolut5@VWT4Forum).  This benefit of the kit is that it comes with the required Quadlock/FM adapter and other bits you need to fit a new stereo.

Absolut5 also includes detailed instructions that explain what you need to do to get the stereo to turn on/off  with the ignition and to dim the display when the headlights are on.  I will admit I would have been utterly lost without his instructions rather than just a little bit disorientated with them.  Hopefully my photo walk through below will support anyone else attempting the same task and fill in some of the gaps in Absolut5’s instructions.

Make sure your ignition is OFF and the key is out.   You should also disconnect the battery although I did not bother!

The following instructions explain how to remove the large light grey plastic panel with a storage net on the passenger side.  This has to be removed so you can access the fuse panels.  Image S1: First you will want to remove the glovebox so you can pass cables around and access the rear of the stereo once its fitted.  There are five screws but don’t be distracted by the visible screws in the door stops,  you need to lift the little caps and access the screws underneath plus the one hidden at the back.  Image S2: As you are only going to pass cables through this area you don’t need to remove the insulation and can leave it neatly tucked in – unlike me.  Image S3:  Now prise off the end flap which has the airbag disable switch contained within.  Providing the ignition is turned off you can disconnect this switch from the panel and get it out the way but as Absolut5 says in his instructions “do NOT turn on the ignition with this switch disconnected” or there will be trouble!  Image s4:  This confused me for a moment but the small rectangle panel is this one.  You need it removed to access the screw for the lower grey panel.   Image S5: While you are at it remove the fuse panel cover.  Not Shown: You also need to remove the black plastic panel in the passenger footwell.  Image S6:  You are now in a position where you can remove all the screws holding the large light grey panel in place and remove it from the dashboard.  There is one clip right next to the hazard switch which is a bit tough to get to pop but work at it carefully and it does go.  I missed reading this in Absolut5’s instructions but thankfully no damage was caused.

Image S5: You should now be able to see the fuse boxes. The cable(s) we need to link to are in the top fuse panel but this is where my experience differs from the instructions I was given.  I only needed to remove the top fuse panel and I was able to do this by undoing the two long screws and then pushing the unit gently backwards towards the front of the van before wiggling it out leftwards into the passenger footwell.  Image S7:  I could then use the numbers on the each fuse slot cross referenced against the cable color to help me identify the correct cable(s).  Image S8:  One other change I made to the instructions was to attach long cables to the fuse panel allowing me to place the suggested 5amp fuses behind the stereo.   Like hell did I want to have to remove all these panels to check fuses in the future I’d rather slip the stereo back out!

At this point I wanted to check I had the correct voltages at the correct time so needed to reconnect the airbag switch BEFORE switching the ignition on.  I can’t imagine anyone would attempt this sort of job without a multimeter so if you don’t have one get one!

Image S9:  Now I was able to start replacing the stereo and using my fingers and a blunt large bladed screwdriver I eased off the top dash tray.  Note how the clips are at the back and it clips under the front dash facia panel.  Image S10:  Now you can carefully prise off the front facia panel noting that it clips in and under the climate control panel.  If you observe carefully how this comes off it will make it a lot easier to refit later – you have to tuck it up and under the climate control panel to get it flush – don’t break the clips on the bottom. Finally you can remove the four screws holding the stere in place.   Image s11:  This shows the new facia fitted with the new stereo insert, which had to be glued into place because none of the tabs could be bent into position.  You can also see the white rear speaker cables and the two red cables with insulated spade connections that have been fed up from the fuse panel waiting for fuse holders.

Image S12: The new stereo comes with a microphone and DAB aerial so I saw this as a good opportunity to remove the roof panel and add some Silentcoat sound deadening.  Removing this panel requires some patience as there are a lot of screws to be undone.  The sun visor screw covers are particularly difficult to remove and don’t forget the two screws inside the interior light housing.  Image 13: This shows the new DAB aerial installed.  I would say that this was not straightforward and I am glad that I bothered (unlike me) to read the instructions.  The aerial is earthed to the van’s body work and needed to be a specific distance from the metal.  I measured the distances using a metal ruler, marking them with permanent marker before copying the marks onto the outside of the windscreen.  I then used the alcohol cleaner to clean the inside of the screen reading for fitting the aerial.  After fitting I used the same wipe to remove my marks from the outside of the windscreen.  This approach seemed to work quite well.

Finally the stereo is fitted (better photos to follow).


Front Speaker Upgrade

This weekend I have completed the upgrade of the vans front speakers and replaced the standard OEM ones with Pioneer TSH1730 Component speakers.   Its a worthwhile job and the sound improvements are immediate but it is not without its challenges and hazards.  Image FS1 – Arriving home on friday I quickly set to removing the door panels and building my first attempt at the new speaker collar I would require.  Warning – the door clips have a locking catch and you have to try and pop the large circular base against the door away from the smaller circular above it releasing the catch.  Image FS2 – Sadly the collars on a T5.1 are a moulded single piece affair so immediately I had to start drilling at the pop-rivets taking care not to drop the ends into the door cavity.   Having measured up (roughly my requirements) and cut some rings out of some spare 18mm plywood (it didn’t go well) I ended up clamping and bonding (silkflex) the untidy creation into the van and quitting work for the evening feeling like I had failed.   That evening I contacted Absolute Audio via the forum considering the it might just be easier to buy some ready made and for some people this would be the easier option – this job really cannot be attempted without a decent jigsaw and a maths compass to draw the circles.  My Ryoba One JigSaw was a complete pain and tended to flex the blade inwards at the bottom as it turned for the curve leaving me with not the best of circles.  Image FS3 – With renewed enthusiasm and energy in the morning I had another go.   This time I purchased some furniture board from a local DIY store as it was cheaper and would be softered and therefore easier to cut.  Image FS4 / FS5 – In the end I cut two rings that had 230mm OD and 140mm ID and four rings that were 200mm OD and 140mm ID.  I glued and screwed these together and marked up all the other holes I would need.  Image FS6 – All the panels have had additional sound damping applied using Silent Coat left over from the conversion.  Image FS6 – When I went to fit the tweeters I was surprised to find that there was no OEM ones fitted!  After some consideration I removed the speaker grill and used the circular sticky pads to fix the tweeters under the VW Dashboard grill.  Image FS8 – Initially, I had thought that I would run the Tweeter cable to the stereo but I quickly decided that getting the cable to the door would be easier.  Warning – make sure that your cable goes on the right side of the windows slider rail.  Image FS9 – Finally everything was back together and I’m left waiting new clips to attached the door panels.

The Media Shopping List

Media Centre

Product Total Supplier Notes
CDA137BTi_alt1 Kenwood BT73DAB Car Stereo £174 CarAudioCentre Comes with DAB Aerial.  Also needed to purchase a new surround and the adapter (via Absolut5 on the forum)
TSE1702is Pioneer-E1702 Speakers £85 CarAudioCentre
 ts_h1703 Pioneer TSH1703 Front Speakers £80 CarAudio24
About CDB 362 Articles
Self-Employed Software Developer, Spark, Property Management, Hobby Forestry, Ex-Teacher, Engineering - Wood, Metal, Electrics & Computers. Outdoors - Walk, Cycle, Kitesurf,

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